Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Best Books of 2011

Or, the sixteen books that made my year…

This year has been incredible – in fact I am so pleased that I started book reviewing this year, because I don’t remember a year when this many incredible books have all come out in the space of twelve months.
It’s effectively my list of books that I would say made my year, and if you haven’t read them, why on earth not?! But I have given them a winning category to be helpful. See, so helpful.

Best Historical Mystery – The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Do I even need to explain my love for Deanna Raybourn again? I’m just going to point you in the direction of my review of this book and the Q & A I did with her last month to celebrate my one year blogiversary. That should cover the love.
But if you're still not convinced, this series is one of my all time favourites. This book is just as strong as its predecessors, and Brisbane and Julia remain one of my all time favourite couples.

Best Young Adult Debut – Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

This was one of the best new fantasy books in young adult that I read this year. It was incredible, the heroine was amazing, and I can’t wait for the sequel which is due out late next year. Check out my wishlist to pre-order it now!

You can read my review of the book here!

Best Fairy Tale Retelling – Entwined by Heather Dixon

Wow. Just wow. I was in love with this book long before I bought it. I kept eyeing it and wishing it would stop being so expensive, although that beautiful cover kind of made up for it. And then eventually I treated myself to it – and you know what, it was definitely worth the wait. One of the strongest fairy tale retellings I have had the pleasure of reading, and my favourite novelization of the tale of the twelve dancing princesses.

You can read my review here!

Best New Fantasy (Young Adult) – The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Wow. Just wow. This was one of my really highly anticipated reads of the year, and it was truly phenomenal. I don’t want to say anymore about it, just go read it.

Or you can read my review of the book here.

Best New Fantasy (Adult) – Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Aha! You guys I did a little dance when I discovered that Maria had a new fantasy series coming out. No joke,  I got quite a few weird looks that day. And then I got my sticky mitts on it, and it was awesome. I love her fantasy, I love her world building, I love her heroines, and her heroes, and her absolutely awesome romance.

In fact, go read my review here – I tell you just how much I love her in great detail there…

Best Standalone (Young Adult) – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I have a feeling this could get boring after a while with me squeeing about just how much I loved every single book in this list – it’s very true though, they are all gorgeous. And The Scorpio Races really took my breath away. It had a slow build, a gorgeous setting, and some of the most amazingly imaginative yet down to earth plot and writing that I’ve seen.
In short, it was stunning.

You can read my review here.

Best Standalone (Adult) – Graveminder by Melissa Marr

I will admit, I was a little tense when I discovered that Melissa was releasing an adult novel. I love her young adult books and I had no idea how her writing would carry across to adult. Stupid fears, they had it completely wrong. This book was delicious and in all the right ways. That and I love a standalone novel – they’re hard to find these days.

You can read my review here.

Best Steampunk (Adult) – Heartless by Gail Carriger

This series is awesome. Gail Carriger has taken the idea of steampunk and injected it with her own brand of brilliance, which involves a heroine who can take care of herself thank you very much, pesto, parasols, and as ever, treacle tart.

You can read my review here. And you can read an interview with the lady herself here!

Best Steampunk (Young Adult) – Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

The Infernal Devices series is absolutely phenomenal. They are, in my eyes, Clare’s best work. I love them. I love the love triangles. I love the character’s. I love the plot. I love everything. Go read it.

And then go read my review!

Best Series Continuation – Red Glove by Holly Black

Cassel is one of my favourite voices to read. I love how elegantly Black gets inside his head and offers us everything, every broken part of him. This is a truly exceptional series, and I cannot wait to read the thrilling conclusion next year.

You can read my review here.

Best Zombie Book – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m not really a zombie person. So for Marion to write a book about zombie’s, from a zombie (R’s) point of view, with a bucket load of fabulously realistic romance, and for me to love it, is truly impressive. I think he might have turned me onto the zombie path – hell I’m even enjoying the Walking Dead after reading this…

You can read my review here.

Best Conclusion to a Series – The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

Yes Ms Brennan I am looking at you for quite literally ripping out my heart, joyfully chopping it into pieces (probably whilst giggling) stitching it back together and gift wrapping it.
I loved this series, but the final book was a masterpiece in writing, bringing the whole seamlessly together into one brilliantly satisfying conclusion.
I love her for it, I also want to poke her with sticks for putting me through quite so much misery during it, and then I want to get my mitts on everything else she’s writing.

You can read my review here!

Best Chick-Lit – Breakfast at Darcy’s by Ali McNamara

Ali has the sought after blend of wit, great writing and fabulous characterization that make her novels an absolute joy to read. They’re smart and funny and right up my street. I adored her debut at the end of last year, and she’s now firmly cemented herself in my top list with her second novel. She’s also practically persuaded me to go and move to a remote island after reading this – the power of words eh. Read it and let me know if you’ll be joining me on the island.

You can read my review here, and an interview with Ali here!

Best Historical Romance – A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

This book is wicked. No, it’s more than that it is utterly delicious. A regency retelling of Cinderella, complete with coaches, princes, castles, a fairy godmother, seduction, and of course rats.
I have loved every Eloisa book I’ve picked up, but there is something very wicked about this series of ‘Happily Ever after’ books (similar to dark chocolate) that makes them sinfully wicked and absolutely fabulous to read. I picked the first book in the series as my favourite, but in all honesty I enjoyed the second book just as much. And now I can’t wait for the third to come out in the UK in a couple of days!

You can read my review of the book here! You can also check out the mini Q& A with the fabulous Eloisa, and if you fancy winning a signed copy of one of her books, enter the giveaway!

Most Incredible Book (Adult) – The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

How do I love thee? It would take too long to try and explain here. Suffice to say I adored it. It stood out for me as an absolutely breath taking example of literature, and I come back to it again and again.

You can read my review here.

Most Incredible Book (Young Adult) – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Again, this book absolutely blew me away. There were so many stunning books released this year that there was very stiff competition from all sides. However, it stayed with me long after I finished reading it, and is a remarkable blend of several stories interwoven to create one beautiful whole.

You can read my review here.

So that’s it for this year. A clean slate for the start of the next year’s book binge, and some incredibly exciting books ready to grace our shelves in the next twelve months.

If you’re interested in looking at what I’m excited about that’s coming out in 2012, check out my Wishlist.

But in the meantime, I want to wish you a Happy New Year, and I hope next year brings you even more awesome books!

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